YPP Network Description

The MacArthur Research Network on Youth and Participatory Politics (YPP) formed out of recognition that youth are critical to the future of democracy and that the digital age is introducing technological changes that are impacting how youth develop into informed, engaged, and effective actors.

Black Youth Project

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During the 2014-2015 school year, the Black Youth Project collaborated with the Chicago Public School’s Global Citizenship Initiative to pilot a high school civics curriculum infused with digital media. 

We piloted the curriculum in five schools, focusing particularly on schools in communities of color throughout Chicago. We structured the digital component around three main modules: Digital Media Introduction, Electoral Process, and Policy Issues. Digital media introduction exposes students to online information spaces and how to process information for truth and bias. Electoral process emphasizes issue learning and electoral campaign strategy in a digital age. Finally, policy issues serves as the action oriented part of the curriculum, meant to harness information and organizing campaigns on issues that are important to students. Below are the schools we worked in for the pilot, representing Chicago's North, South, and West side neighborhoods. All school demographic data is from the Chicago Public Schools district.

  • Hyde Park Academy (99% Black)

  • Bogan Computer Technical Academy (50.7% Black; 45.3% Hispanic) 

  • Little Black Pearl Art and Design Academy (97.1% Black)  

  • Alcott Humanities High School (47.7% Hispanic; 35.2% Black) 

  • Christian Fenger Academy High School (98.2% Black) 

  • Uplift Community High School (86.5% Black; 7.7% Hispanic)

In July 2015, we worked to organize a summer program for young people called the Student Voice and Activism Fellowship at the University of Chicago. This five-week immersive program taught 24 students skills in research methods and design, multimedia production, community organizing, and presenting arguments using digital media about issues that affected their schools. During the school year, fellows attended Student Voice Committee meetings at their schools to continue growth of organizing and leadership skills with peers.


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Black Youth Project